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DiMatteo Mod 1 Assessment Barriers

Module 1 Application Assignment

Assessment Barriers

Samantha DiMatteo

Marygrove College
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The use of traditional assessments can pose barriers for many of the students of

this generation. Our classrooms are compiled of various learners with dramatic

cognitive differences. Brookhart and Nitko (2015) explain, most educational decisions

benefit from considering multiple assessments at multiple levels (p. 8). It is imperative

that we use a variety of assessment techniques to help us gain feedback about whether

or not our students have achieved our desired learning outcomes.

Some examples of traditional assessment techniques that create barriers for

many of todays students include true/false and multiple-choice exams. One of the main

barriers is that these tests require students to sort through large amounts of information;

this can be overwhelming for certain members of the student body and does not offer

them a good opportunity to showcase their knowledge. Brookhart and Nitko (2015)

state, Although it is natural to assume that tests are designed to provide information

about an individual, this is not always true (p. 10). These assessments can be

inconsistent in measuring what a student genuinely comprehends and thus are not an

accurate representation of each students abilities. For example, when students dont

know an answer they have a good chance of guessing the correct solution; this can

then pose misleading results as the data may suggest that the students are competent

in material that they truly do not understand.

The majority of curriculum is assessed in written form, which is another barrier for

some learners. Meyer, Rose, and Gordan explain, The fact that curriculum was

designed for the mythical average learner, adept at navigating the print environment,

created significant barriers for students in the margins, for whom the print-based

environment simply did not work as the single means to access and express

knowledge (p. 2). Assessments need to support the various ways in which we express
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ourselves. Expressing knowledge in the form of written text is a valuable skill, however,

the opportunity for students that best express themselves orally or kinetically should be

addressed. Unfortunately, printed materials are typical the main form of assessments.

Meyer, Rose, and Gordan state, education became narrowly defined by the print

medium, and the typical variability of students was seen as a huge problem (p. 2). We

should not see student variability as a problem, instead we should appreciate the

various learners in our classrooms, and work to challenge and support each of their

abilities. Tangible, hands-on applications can reduce barriers and support real life

transferable scenarios.

Another barrier is in the standardized design of traditional assessments. Our

students are each unique individuals that learn and express their knowledge in a

number of ways and we continue to assess them in the same universal manner. Meyer,

Rose, and Gordan explain, most learners are still being educated in standardized

and uniform ways. Too many individuals continue to be under-challenged, stressed, or

simply disaffected because of the narrow and rigid kinds of teaching and learning that

schools continue to promulgate (p. 3). These tests limit our students freedom of

expression, creating barriers for them to demonstrate their true vision of a topic.

Assessments should vary according to the abilities of each student, they should

provide challenging but reachable questions, and support the abilities of all levels. As

Brookhart and Nitko (2015) explain, It is important to create learning and assessment

situations that require students to use combinations of specific skills and knowledge to

preform complex task and solve real life problems (p. 24). However, although offering

a variety of assessments pose numerous benefits, many challenges can arise. The

most prominent benefits of offering a variety of assessments is that they help the
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instructor gain better insight as to the comprehension their students have with the

material. Brookhart and Nitko (2015) note, One format of assessment provides an

incomplete picture of what a student has learned (p.10). The purpose of assessing our

students is to gain feedback as to how receptive our students have been to the material,

so if we do not construct assessments that actively support this goal they are in fact,

meaningless. The main challenge that teachers are faced with when they design

various assessments is the planning component. Meyer, Rose, and Gordan note,

most curricula are designed and developed as if students were homogeneous (p. 3).

Students are not carbon copies and their assessments should not be either. Teachers

must not only take the time to prepare each exam, but they must use constant formative

assessment techniques to help them distinguish between the various types of learners

in their classroom. Once this is accomplished they can then create formal assessments

that support these learners. Tomlinson and Imbeau (2010) state, learning is predicated

on a teachers thorough understanding of both content and his or her students (p. 84).

Accurately identifying the different learners and assessing them accordingly is no easy

task, but if teachers spend time getting to know their students the will be able to create

exams that best support their abilities.

Traditional assessments create barriers for students and are not a practical way

to measure student learning. The best way to address this issue is to construct

assessments that consider the needs of all learners. Meyer, Rose, and Gordan

explain that we need to: amplify areas of strength and support areas of weakness,

specifically chosen and set up for each learner (p. 3). Each students learning style is

unique in nature, and our assessments should offer the opportunity for each student to

showcase their knowledge in a way that best supports their cognitive abilities.
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References

Meyer, A., Rose, D.H., & Gordon, D. (2014) Universal design for learning: Theory and
practice, Wakefield MA: CAST

Tomlinson, C. A., & Imbeau, M. B. (2010). Leading and Managing a Differentiated


Classroom. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Brookhart, S. M., & Nitko, A. J. (2015). Educational Assesssment of Students. Boston,


MA: Pearson Education, Inc.